Background. Media multitasking (MMT) is common among adolescents, especially with the introduction of digital educational tools in mixed reality environments. However, there has been limited research on MMT in educational settings with electronic learning tools including augmented reality (AR).
Objective. To study MMT in conjunction with metacognition, technology attitudes, and effectiveness of learning activities for 13–14 year olds in a mixed reality learning situation.
Design. The experiment involved organizing learning activities in MMT format using digital tools, including AR. The MMT experimental group was given the option of searching the internet for information about a problem; the control group was given only a video, the e-textbook and AR application. Eye tracking measured task switching, while MMT efficiency was assessed by the number of completed tasks and test results. Metacognition was measured using the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory (MAI), and attitudes toward digital devices were examined using the Technology Attitudes Questionnaire.
Results. Most of the adolescents (80%) preferred MMT, and no significant differences in test performance were found between the groups. Multitasking correlated with better cognitive control and metacognition scores and negatively correlated with technophobia. Learning activity effectiveness in mixed reality was assessed by the number and time of fixations on tasks in conjunction with metacognition and cognitive control. Interactive digital tools in education improve learning efficiency.
Conclusion. Adolescents' preference for multitasking does not reduce learning productivity, but it does not guarantee success either. This suggests an internalization process of using digital technologies among adolescents. As a result, MMT may be gradually mastered as a new tool that is necessary for adaptation and success in an increasingly complex technological reality. Cognitive control and metacognitive planning significantly contribute to MMT efficiency, highlighting the importance of a conscious MMT strategy for effective learning.
Keywords: media multitasking/ effectiveness/ adolescents/ augmented reality/ mixed reality/ education/ eye tracker/ metacognition